Warning after rise in catalytic converter thefts locally

Catalytic converter

Lichfield District Safer Community Partnership is calling on people to stay vigilant as police officers look to fight a rise in catalytic converter thefts across the district.

The warning comes as intelligence shows many of these crimes take place in broad daylight and in full view of members of the public.

Thieves target catalytic converters as they contain small amounts of precious metals which increases their value, and the price of these metals has increased in recent years.

Mark Ward, Lichfield Police Chief Inspector, said:

“It’s really easy for people to overlook these crimes because many don’t give it a second glance, innocently presuming the cars are either being repaired or having their tyres replaced.

“However, this isn’t always the case and that’s why it’s important for members of the public to stay alert. Offenders tend to travel in groups of three or four and are opportunists. Within minutes of targeting their vehicle, they will have stolen the catalytic converter and escaped.

“We need local people’s help in tackling this issue, and are asking for you to look out for this type of activity and record descriptions, noting down anything that could be useful to us. If it’s safe to do so, recording the incident on your phone is also extremely helpful.”

Councillor Ashely Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, added:

“As well as keeping alert to anyone tampering with cars and reporting any suspicious behaviour, we are offering advice about how to protect your car as much as you can from this type of crime.

“We hope our warning will help local people to be more aware of catalytic converter theft so they can prevent their car from being targeted.”

Vehicles should be parked in highly visible, well-lit areas. Off-road parking areas or secure compounds with strong perimeter fencing, warning signs and security lighting should be used wherever possible.

A monitored surveillance system can also be an effective deterrent and crime prevention of this kind can save on costly repair bills and minimise disruption to businesses.

Marking a converter with a unique reference will help police identify the owner should it be stolen, so always make sure that property is marked.

For more ways to protect your catalytic converter, please visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/catconverter.

To report a crime or suspicious behaviour please call 101, or send a direct message to Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter. You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Published: 1 October 2020